“I don’t see any way in which [the] system is going to close. There are going to be consequences, the emergence of social unrest, and violence against hearts of the population that don’t have protection. It is bound to happen”. Senior Associate Dean for International Business and Finance at The Fletcher School Dr. Bhaskar Chakravorti detailed South Asia’s immediate political and social uncertainties at SAPAC’s latest event, “India in 2025”.
South Asia as a whole is undergoing an unprecedented paradigm shift, whereby the region is growing not necessarily in GDP, but in expectations. Social norms and legal infrastructure have not kept up with the times, and the gap between expectations and India’s ability to deliver is only expanding.
Is India’s political system characterized by corruption? How will private enterprises and investors influence South Asia’s future? When is India going to overtake China, if at all? The commonly held obsession with economic growth rates has dulled due to events such as the recent firing exchanges in Kashmir or last years Delhi rape case. “GDP-itis” has been cured, only because the emerging middle class is realizing that there are far too many other determinants to India’s success.
Despite a growing lack of faith in the government, India is not going to turn away from its democratic path. Nevertheless, corruption remains at the bureaucratic level as India’s “patchwork quilt government” remains unresolved. There are simply far too many interest groups and constituencies across the country that fragment the political system. However a generational turnover of younger citizens will either, through methods imported from the West, or indigenously grown ideas, ameliorate the political climate. As a result, these well-traveled individuals will have less time to respond to these crises and therefore be reactive rather than unresponsive.
Dean Chakravorti predicts that by 2050, India is going to reach an entirely new crisis level. However, there are positives that will arise from this intensifying divide. For instance, India’s single greatest strength is its people and its entrepreneurial gene is going to promulgate. Historically the south has fared better than the north; however, outliers such as Bihar or even Gujarat confirm that India as a nation thrives on its peoples’ collective toolsets and mindsets. Overall, Dean Chakravorti anticipates an explosion in leveraging technology and innovation as this growing socio-economic divide will provide the opportunities for creative people to solve new problems.